Ontario continues to face challenges to mitigate and contain COVID-19. Premier Doug Ford announced additional measures to support frontline staff, allow flexibility in health care staffing, and provide added at-home learning tools to primary and secondary students as schools remain closed for the foreseeable future.
In addition, Premier Ford announced the province would release more detailed and up-to-date modelling in Ontario of COVID-19 on Monday, while stressing the need for Ontarians to stay home. The additional supports announced today suggest provincial officials do not anticipate returning to business-as-usual anytime soon.
Childcare Offered to More Frontline Staff
The province announced it is expanding the list of essential workers that are eligible to receive emergency childcare, including:
- Staff who support vulnerable communities such as developmental and victims’ services
- Select emergency response and law enforcement staff
- Power workers
- Medical supply and device manufacturing workers
Additional Emergency Orders for Increased Frontline Staffing Flexibility
Measures to further protect vulnerable people include:
- Restricting staff in retirement homes from working in more than one health care setting, similar to the province’s recent orders for long-term care staff
- Allowing LHINs to direct homecare service providers to re-assign frontline staff to local areas of greatest need, including home and community care, long-term care, and hospitals
- Providing flexibility to municipalities and social service administration boards to offer staffing reassignments based on local need, including childcare, by-law enforcement, and public health services
Additional Supports for Home Learning
With no indication that there’s any reasonable likelihood of schools re-opening before the end of June, Premier Ford announced that the government has partnered with Rogers Communications and Apple to help support the province’s educational needs as teachers, parents, and students continue adjust to at-home learning.
Ontario school boards are purchasing and distributing iPads, pre-equipped with free wireless data plans to students who either do not have the technology or the internet they need to access the Learn at Home program. Apple is also providing support to teachers, parents, and students with a collection of resources to support learning and working from home.